Long-term Water Storage for Emergencies (Hurricanes, Earthquakes)
Assuming you have your oxygen supply sorted out and are in a place where your body can survive the ambient temperatures, then the next thing on your list should be fluids. Not just going in, mind you, but coming back out as well. Dehydration is a sneaky killer and has a nasty habit of taking little problems and making them much much worse. An dehydration-induced altered mental state could cause you to forget things like not having open flames around gunpowder, or maybe your muscles cramp up and render you incapable of summoning the fine motor skills needed to diffuse a bomb in time. Either way, dehydration can lead to death by explosion. Or even worse.
Recently we had two hurricanes heading our way and the whole town went into a full-on bottled water panic. Some stores went as far as charging four or five times as much as normal and the frenzied masses gladly paid it. It wasn't so much the scalping that bothered me, but the situation on the roads was nuts. People with large families were driving around in a frenzy looking for anywhere the could for the plastic wrapped sky juice and it made the roads a very hazardous place to be for living things in general.
Because You Can't Just Drink Alcohol (it's true, I looked it up)
You might imagine the smug attitude I had sitting at home with my 55 gallon Shelf Reliance drum that I picked up from Costco last year, but that wasn't the case. Our household had doubled in size since I made that purchase, and at a conservative estimate of one gallon per person per day that meant less than ten days of water. To a normal person that might be acceptable, but after hearing the horror stories of Katrina from my sister who lives in New Orleans all I could think about magical flesh eating mystery germs wriggling around in the carcinogenic soup of a creek down the street from us. Sure I have filters, bleach, and a means to boil but to me that sounds like
playing Russian Roulette with a Colt 1911, and I'll be damned if I wind up at a FEMA camp checking my Constitutional Rights at the door.
What we really need is a rainwater collection system with a sufficient storage capacity, and there will be an IKYA article/video on that soon enough. In the meantime we did have a couple of rusty 55 gallon food-grade steel drums that were used for shipping mangos, and even though they weren't perfect it would be good enough for the Berkey filters to handle most of the contaminants. Mrs. Feathers also filled up a couple paint buckets in the bathroom for flushing, and our neighbors downstairs had a number of empty 2 liter soda bottles left over from a party which got put to use as well. It wasn't much, but I was confident we could last the three weeks it would take a cargo ship full of emergency supplies to get here from California.
After all was said and done, the first hurricane got shredded by our trusty volcano Mauna Loa (Florida should really look into getting one of those) and despite some pockets of intense damage on the Big Island our state was spared. The second hurricane passed to the north and sent a really nice swell in it's wake, water bottles went on deep discount sale everywhere after a massive run of returns, and we collectively breathed a sigh of relief.
"Wait a minute," you might ask, "people went back to the store and returned the water? Didn't they learn their lesson about not being prepared and getting caught in a buying panic? Aren't they just going to freak out all over again when the next disaster strikes?"
It's what is known as the herd mentality, which we will examine in our upcoming series of self defense articles.
Until then stay hydrated!